Guide to Judge Richard Kaplan and Lou Carter Papers,
undated, 1923-2014

Processed by Judy Mass and Shannon Struble

Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS

99-101 Newbury St.

Boston, MA 02116



© 2019  Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS, Boston, MA. All Rights Reserved.
Machine-readable finding aid created by Judy Mass and Shannon Struble as MS Word document, October 14, 2017. Finding aid was encoded by Shannon Struble on October 21, 2017. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Kaplan Family
Title: Judge Richard Kaplan and Lou Carter Papers
Dates:undated, 1923-2014
Abstract: Max and Anna Kaplan immigrated to the United States from Russia between 1899 and 1902, settling in the Boston area. The bulk of the collection focuses on the activities of their sons Richard S. Kaplan, an attorney, judge, and author in Gary, Indiana, and Louis Kaplan (known professionally as Lou Carter), a jazz drummer and band leader. The collection contains official documents, including Max and Anna’s naturalization papers, news clippings concerning the two brothers, and photographs, primarily of the Carter orchestra.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: .25 linear feet (1 half-manuscript box)
Identification: P-1038
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located in AJHS Boston, MA
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Biographical Note

Lou Carter (Louis Kaplan) and His Orchestra, signed by Lou for his mother, Anna Kaplan.

Max Kaplan (c. 1873-1930s) and Anna Shenker Kaplan (c. 1876-1950), both born in Russia, were married in the 1890s and immigrated to the United States between 1899 and 1902, settling first in Sharon, Massachusetts, and then in Boston. Max was a self-employed tailor. The couple had five children: Samuel, David, Bessie, Louis, and Morris.

Samuel Richard Kaplan (1897-1974), later known as Richard S. “Dick”, was born in 1897 and studied at Harvard University and Suffolk University Law School. He was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1921 and the Indiana bar in 1922. He practiced law in Gary, Indiana, and served as Gary City Judge from 1963 to 1971. He married Betty Singer in 1922. The couple had a daughter, June Estelle.

During the 1930s, Richard served as president of Gary’s Safety Council. He took a special interest in traffic safety, visiting other cities to learn about the latest developments in the field and giving talks to schools and community groups. With the repeal of Prohibition in 1933 and the popularity of automobiles, drunk driving was increasingly being recognized as a national problem. In 1936, Rolla N. Harger, a biochemist at Indiana University, patented the Drunk-o-meter, a breath-testing device for measuring alcohol levels. In order to persuade a skeptical Safety Court justice of its effectiveness, Richard tested the device in the offices of Gary’s Chief of Police, consuming four ounces of whiskey and later blowing into the Drunk-o-meter balloon. Police and Safety Council officials were in attendance, and the event received nationwide attention.

Richard authored several books including History of Gary Memorial Post No. 17, 1919-1944: Twenty-five Years of Service to Community, State, and Nation (1944) and The History of the Gary Bar Association, 1907-1964 (1964). He died in Los Angeles, California in 1974.

Louis “Lou” Kaplan (1906-1977), known professionally as Lou Carter, was a jazz drummer and band leader. Louis performed with jazz bands throughout New England, including in the Ruby Newman Orchestra, and was named “New England’s ace drummer” by Swing Magazine. He enlisted in the military as a Private in 1943, and after World War II ended, he was discharged.

Upon his return, Louis started his own band, touring as Lou Carter and His Orchestra. He and his band performed at venues such as Casa Manana in Boston, the Cabana Club and the Metropolitan Theater in Providence, Rhode Island, and Kenilworth Lodge in Sebring, Florida throughout the 1950s and 60s.

Somtime before 1964, Louis married Doris. He died in Palm Beach, Florida in 1977.


Materials in the collection.

"Gary Official Gulps 4 Shots of Whisky in Drunk Test, Decides He’s 'Martyr,'" The Indianapolis Star, November 19, 1939, accessed August 25, 2017.

University of Iowa Libraries. "Richard S. Kaplan: famed Gary attorney and America's no. 1 safety crusader." Accessed August 25, 2017.

"United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 November 2017), Max Kaplan, Sharon, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 1154, sheet 12A, family 239, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 610; FHL microfilm 1,374,623.


circa 1873Max Kaplan is born.
circa 1876Anna Kaplan is born.
1897Samuel R. Kaplan is born.
1900The Kaplan family immigrates to the United States.
1906Louis Kaplan is born.
1921Samuel Kaplan (now Richard S.) is admitted to the Massachusetts bar.
1921Richard S. Kaplan marries Betty Singer.
1922Richard S. Kaplan is admitted to the Indiana bar.
1930sMax Kaplan dies.
1943Louis Kaplan enlists in the military.
1945Louis Kaplan is discharged from the military and forms his own jazz band.
1950Anna Kaplan dies.
1971Richard S. Kaplan serves as City Judge in Gary, Indiana.
1974Richard S. Kaplan dies in Los Angeles, California.
1977Louis Kaplan dies in Palm Beach, Florida.
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Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of Kaplan family legal documents, including Max and Anna Kaplan’s naturalization papers, news clippings concerning brothers Richard S. Kaplan and Lou Carter (Louis Kaplan), and photographs, primarily of the Carter orchestra.

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The collection is arranged into a single series as follows:

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Collections and Engagement of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:
American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Judge Richard Kaplan and Lou Carter Papers; P-1038; box number; folder number; Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS.

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Acquisition Information

Donated by Patricia Trzepacz-Bradley, 2016.

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Access Points

This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Click the box in the request column to learn more about viewing materials at the Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS.


Series I: Judge Richard Kaplan and Lou Carter Papers, undated, 1923-2014

Box 1.

Arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content:

See Collection Scope and Content Note.

11Clippingsundated, 1939-2014request_box
12Miscellaneous Legal Documents1923-1950request_box
13Photographsundated, 1960-1965request_box
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